Sunday, March 27, 2022

A Fisherman's Tale in Seven Photos

The photo story setting is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
I sent hubby down to the waterside to see if he could help with the net once we noticed that size of the carp! (It took very little encouragement from me.) The man was photographed by at least 20 people who were walking around to see the cherry blossoms.  (We will not discuss that carp are bottom feeders and that this was in the river in the city.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Moving through the Climates

The globe is indeed smaller.  Imagine our pioneer forefathers being able to go from mild late winter at our home to summer to mid-winter in just a few days.  They would be shell-shocked.  We left warm and sunny San Diego and arrived in Denver to meet up with family and were plunged into winter.  I love looking out the windows of the plane as we fly over our vast country, so much of which "seems" uninhabited.  

Something magical about being up so high above the earth and getting a bird's perspective on how small we all really are.

Denver had been getting plenty of snow on and off the week prior to our arrival.  It would melt and then another snowfall would arrive.  Below is the roof of my sister's neighbor's house the night we arrived and then the next day after a lovely gentle overnight snowfall.

The weather was cold but since it is a "dry" cold it is tolerable.  They loaned us scarves and coats, etc.  Below are brother and sister and in-laws at a Mexican restaurant get-together the next day.

Then we headed out to my youngest brother's house which he is building.  He has built two other houses for himself, but his wife wants this new much larger house it seems.  They have no children and are not big not sure why unless it is for investment.  They do own quite a bit of real estate.  They do the work mostly themselves, although as they have aged, they do contract out the heavy stuff!

It was lovely seeing them all.  I hope that my sister and my other brother come out for a visit soon now that COVID is on the wane.  My youngest brother has never visited me even though we are close.  They only like travel to Mexico in the winter for a break.

Above we are back at my sister's house trying to stay out of the way of two large dogs that were getting reacquainted.  You can see them wrestling in the back.  Can you tell which of the folks are related by body language?

Lastly, we flew home after three days and arrived late at night.  We did not stay at my daughter's but picked up the car and tried to make it through the city at 9:00 PM.  Below is what we encountered and what led us to a two-hour detour before we finally could unload and rest at home!

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Playing Tourist

How lucky I am to be able to play tourist in my own country. Yes, COVID Cousin waits to rear its ugly head down the road. Yes, inflation has cut dramatically into our budget. Yes, the war in Ukraine gets uglier and uglier as that awful dictator tries to bomb them back to the dark ages. But, I have to turn my face to the sun and pretend, for a while, that my life is going on somewhat regularly. 

The conference planners had expected 3,000 scientists, environmentalists, and policy planners from around the globe. They got 2200, which was still a pretty good number.  Most, but not all, wore masks, as required by the rules.  There was a PCR testing room off to the side and as I walked by I saw 3 people inside.  I think they were testers.  This conference in actuality was one of three regional member meetings that allowed easier travel for all of the scientists around the globe.  One meeting in San Diego, one a few months later in Mexico, and a final one a few months after that in Singapore.  Some scientists will go to all three.

Below is the bar/gathering area outside the conference registration building up in Mission Valley outside of San Diego.  It was early in the day.  Scientists can fill a bar when needed.

I went to the conference two of the days.  Hubby's talk did not go as smoothly as he hoped because the slides were out of order and some were missing.  He was not embarrassed but went on with his talking anyway.  I had asked him several times to go through it with me, but he was tinkering with it until the very last minute.  He did get an opportunity to meet all of his old friends and also made some plans with Nature Conservancy contacts for work on a project.  So all in all it was worthwhile.

The other days I played tourist.  San Diego has a special city park called Balboa Park.  It began in 1868 as a city park on a high mesa overlooking San Diego.  It has got to be the best location of any city park!  Over 17 museums and historic venues to see.  Naturally one of my afternoons there I saw just a tiny bit. (I must come back.) When we had visited years ago with Mage and George we got a private tour of the car museum, which is the best way to get a tour!

I am not the best map reader and had trouble finding the Japanese Friendship Garden along with a few other tourists that I followed!  (The Botanical Gardens were closed, sadly.)  The Friendship Garden held new meaning for me in these times.

Then I toured the desert garden and missed the Rose Garden, sadly.

Finally, I visited the many art shops at the Spanish Village Art Center and did not buy anything because that time in my life has passed.  In fact, I went through my craft closet and gave some stuff to Mage that had been sitting there unused for some time!  Nothing like dumping your stuff on others!

Artists village.  Photo was taken before it opened mid-afternoon.

I also toured the Mingei International Museum which was filled with marvelous arts and crafts items from famous and non-famous and maybe infamous.  The museum had a half-dozen explorers other than me and arts and crafts are one of my favorite things to view.  I spent over an hour there as I had no one else to worry about!  I was so enthralled that I failed to take many photos.  Below the wall of Indonesian wax Tjaps which are copper designs that carry melted wax to resist the dyes when making batik fabric.  I have one or two which I use as trivets.

We did spend a small fortune on food, but since we have not eaten out in nice restaurants for almost three years, we felt justified.  We got to places early since we were on East Coast time and had our choice of tables.


Plenty of good seafood in the tourist areas of the city.  Seafood is always healthy, even if smothered in butter, right?

Needless to say, almost all is ala carte in the tourist areas which makes it so much more expensive.

Since I did a lot of walking I also ordered my share of desserts.  

On our get-together with two of my favorite bloggers, Hubby and George ordered some chocolate-cake concoction the size of a small cat, and Mage and I ordered a mutual favorite, creme brulee.  The creme brulee had fresh fruit on top and that has to count for something!  I will skip writing the narrative on the huge mistake I made in getting the meet-up location correct as that is almost a blog post by itself!  At least we finally met up!

I hope this showed that the world is moving on timidly.  Stay safe in your travels.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Traveling by Air Once Again

Certainly, aging changes travel skills. I usually return exhausted and ready to get back to my normal routines. This time I was much more emotional and sort of "out of time".  I felt lost at times during the day and actually had problems remembering where I had stored stuff before I left.  I did sleep like a hibernating bear on the trip and at home which I do love after my problems with coughing last year.

The actual flights, scheduling, and going through security were extremely efficient.  We flew United and have their credit card and they made it so easy to check in at home or at the hotel in San Diego or at my sister's house each time we needed boarding passes.  Many people used their phones to show the QR code, but I found that at least a few times the airport reader would not work as easily with the phone screen as it did for those of us with our paper printed codes!  (I also always worry about having a phone with no power.)  We were able to check in our bags at the kiosks very easily as well.

Due to hubby's memory issues, I have found that I have taken over all the scheduling and checking in.  BUT he made all the reservations before we left!  I think that when he is stressed, his memory fails him more and there is nothing more stressful than standing in an airport line or waiting for a taxi.

Our airports were relatively empty during the times and days we traveled.  

We were off the pre-TSA list as we had not flown for years, and were no longer subscribed.  Therefore we did not have the luxury of being pre-checked with TSA.  The security lines had different rules at Dulles, San Diego, and Denver.  None required shoe removal if you are over 75.  All required removal of electronics. Two required removals of my DSLR camera.   One required me and hubby to go through the body scanner while the other two did not.

It was hard to wear masks during the entire time you were at the airports (unless eating) and during the entire flight, although you could remove them if you were eating the snacks and drinking as long as you replaced the mask between sips and bites.  It was hot and if you were dragging luggage from one end of a large airport to another, the mask did reduce oxygen intake! We encountered no mask idiots on the flight thankfully.  99% of the travelers followed the rules.

We stayed in the Gaslight District in San Diego.  Very touristy, expensive food and only touristy stores to shop.  But since I live in the country, these were all treated as temporary issues.  It was within walking distance of the parks near the water.  The architecture was certainly varied.

And, as you can see there were no crowds!

We got some great sunsets from our hotel room which looked over the water in front of the Convention Center.  (Hubby's conference was up in Mission Valley instead of the large center here.)

We Ubered everywhere and that cost $19 to $30 depending on the trip.  Considering the cost of gas and the luxury of not having to find parking for a rental car, we thought this was quite acceptable.  I downloaded the UBER app to hubby's phone and he was able to navigate back and forth by himself on the two days that I did not go to the conference.  He hates phone apps, but when motivated...

I took a few hundred photos and will not bore you with them all.  In the next post I will add some stuff about botanical visits, hubby's speech and include our visit with Mage and George since I know that bloggers love to read about others' travels...not.  Thanks for bearing with me.